Biden’s Silent Surrender on the Final COVID Frontier

This week, President Joe Biden embraced reality and proclaimed an end to the coronavirus pandemic. Federal COVID vaccine mandates will finally lift later this month. However, the truth is that Americans have a Texas judge and Biden’s plagiarism—not leadership—to thank for this common-sense move.

Until this month, Biden’s ongoing vaccine mandate had continued to devastate public school districts across the country. Suddenly, however, his administration announced that the departments of Health and Human Resources (HHS) and Homeland Security “will start the process to end their vaccination requirements for Head Start educators.”

The president took the opportunity to spike the football on acknowledging the post-pandemic reality that all but the most hardened left-wing activists have already been living in. This was wildly disingenuous, however, because Biden would almost certainly have kept the Head Start vaccine mandate in place if it weren’t for a meddling federal judge in Texas. Until a U.S. District Court judge overturned Biden’s vaccine mandate, schools—particularly those geared towards pre-kindergarteners—were still enforcing vaccine mandates for teachers and masking mandates for toddlers.

Biden was forced to concede to a lawsuit brought by a slew of Republican attorneys general against HHS and its secretary, Xavier Becerra. Judge James Wesley Hendrix placed a permanent injunction that bans any state, territory, or tribal community from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine in a Head Start program. Dave Yost, attorney general of Ohio, one of the states that sued over the Biden administration’s mandate, said that “only the Biden administration would defend a rule requiring 3-year-olds to wear masks to go to Head Start—in 2023! He never had the authority, and now he can’t even claim to have the need.”

The relief for kids across America couldn’t come soon enough. The National Head Start Association (NHSA) warned that tens of thousands of Head Start staff might quit to avoid having to comply with the COVID vaccine mandate. The group’s deputy director said the Biden administration’s policy made it “even more difficult to retain and recruit new staff,” and noted that “in some communities, vaccine hesitancy and things like that are much larger than in other communities.”

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 01: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a reception celebrating Eid-al-Fitr in the East Room of the White House on May 1, 2023 in Washington, DC. The White House hosted the event to mark Eid al-Fitr, which is celebrated by Muslims worldwide for the end of the month-long Ramadan.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

In Biden’s statement, he disingenuously claimed that he helped critical workforces “provide services without disruptions to operations.” In contrast, NHSA warned that Biden’s vaccine and masking mandates could lead to Head Start programs losing up to 26 percent of all staff and the shutdown of more than 1,300 Head Start classrooms. As Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.) noted, “the irony…is that [Head Start] is meant to help minorities, yet these are the groups most negatively impacted by their pandemic politics.”

When looking at the legislative agenda of House Republicans, it’s clear they’re hand-holding the president, nudging him toward common-sense decisions, just like they are with debt ceiling negotiations. Will Reinert, national press secretary of the National Republican Congressional Committee, pointed out the obvious: “Without House Republicans’ leadership on the issue, Democrats would still be governing like it is February 2021.”

Weeks ago, Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) introduced the Ending Mandates on Head Start Educators Act, which would prohibit Becerra from enforcing both the vaccine mandate imposed upon Head Start staff and the mask mandate for toddlers enrolled in the program. That’s now exactly what Biden is doing.

Before that, Republicans led by Reps. Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Brett Guthrie (Ky.), and James Comer (Tenn.) introduced a barrage of legislation that would have scaled back the pandemic state drastically. Biden issued dire warnings about the Republicans’ rational proposals to scale back mandates before enacting basically those same proposals on a delayed timeline.

Thanks to Judge Hendrix—and not President Biden—classrooms have one less major obstacle when it comes to retaining quality educators and offering opportunities to some of our country’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

To the extent that Biden deserves any credit for bringing America back to normal, it’s due to his history of shameless plagiarism, not leadership.

Matthew Foldi is a conservative journalist and former U.S. congressional candidate from Maryland. Twitter: @MatthewFoldi.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

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